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silencer 11-01-2012 11:13 AM

Need advice on rusted pipe problem
Hi guys, new here and pretty new to plumbing too. I enjoy fixing things that are within my limits so I hope I can take care of this problem:

I noticed that underneath my kitchen sink water has been leaking. It's been going on for awhile but I always thought that it was my dog (who drinks a lot of water) was just spilling it on the floor.
I checked and the pvc pipe that is under the sink connects to a cast iron (I heard it might be called a "nipple pipe"?) style pipe in the wall that then connects to the "drain pipe(?) (the bent pipe that eventually goes into the ground). The iron pipe (nipple) seems to have rusted some on the bottom side at the connecting point where the pvc is and that's where the water is coming from. I'll put some pictures to show but it might be difficult to see completely cause I can't get the camera under there good (it's really tight spaced). The 2nd and 4th picture is where the pipes meet, the problem area.

I have very limited knowledge of plumbing and I don't think I'm ready to tear the wall out and replace the cast iron pipe, what can I do to stop this? The ridges on the iron/nipple pipe looks like I can screw more of the pvc pipe in there but I havn't tried it. Can you buy bigger pipe connectors or put some putty on there to fix it? I heard you can saw the pipe off but it doesn't look like I will be able to because it goes into the wall. I'm wondering if I should take out that whole steel nipple pipe/part from the cast iron (?) pipe in the wall that drains the water down? It *looks* like it's been screwed in there as I think I can see threads, but at the same time I don't want to break anything if it's rusted/difficult to get out/turn?
Sorry for the beginner questions, just a little freaked out. THANKS!

joecaption 11-01-2012 11:24 AM

It's not cast it's galvinizized pipe.
At some point galzinized pipe was bound to fail and leak and all of it will need to be replaced with PVC at some point.
What's going to happen most likly when you try to remove it the nipple will just crush, which may or may not be a good thing.
If your luckly when it crushes you will be able to get it out. Once out you may be able to clean it up enough with a wire brush that looks like a tooth brush and a rag.
Once cleaned up you could use another galvinized nipple with teflon pipe dope,

You do know there's also one of the PVC nuts that's not connected to your drain. right?

silencer 11-01-2012 11:49 AM

Thanks for the quick reply, Joe. I'm not sure what you mean about the other pvc not being connected? One of the pipes comes in from a washer outlet and the other is from the other sink drain. That's probably not shown in the pictures but I might be wrong, are you thinking of something else?

When I try and remove that steel pipe then, is there anything I should consider when unscrewing it from the drain pipe behind the wall? Do I have to lubricate it or something? I'm worried if something goes wrong there the whole wall have to be taken out and the big drain pipe replaced, etc....

BrandonD 11-01-2012 12:25 PM

Joe is referring to the nut below the T fitting immediately underneath the drain pictured. There are three twist nuts that connect to that T, only two of which are on. The bottom one is not. You can see it good in 3rd picture you posted. If you weren't aware of that then that's likely a big source of your leak too considering both drains feed through it. My sink was leaking and I thought it was the filter system that was just installed but it ended up being a very loose nut like yours.

silencer 11-01-2012 12:45 PM

Ah, I see. Thanks. I actually took the picture after I had put everything back the way it was but I didn't screw anything in. It was for me so I could remember how it was hooked up because at first I freaked out I almost ripped everything out, haha. I'm not a plumber (obviously), just a young guy who gets nervous! :/
I'm just worried about taking that galv. pipe out and breaking something on the main drain... :(

joecaption 11-01-2012 02:51 PM

Behind the wall is most likly a 90 deg. elbow, you not very likly to break that.

silencer 11-01-2012 04:15 PM

Joe, you're right. Behind the wall there is the elbow (that I called drain that 90 degrees and goes down through the floor). I think it's cast iron. It's black and looks pretty thick. I was just worried that if I try to unscrew the steel nipple I would hurt or damage the threads that the elbow has so I won't be able to insert a new one into there? The nipple and elbow do look like they have some rust at their connection too so I imagine it will be difficult to get loose. Is there anything else I need to consider?
Thanks for all the advice so far.

joecaption 11-01-2012 05:30 PM

Not much to concider, try removing it, if it works great, if not it's time for plan B.

oh'mike 11-01-2012 07:07 PM

Some times the old stuff needs replacing----you have an old house--I see wood lath and plaster---

Before you attack that with a saws all---post pictures---

It could be that some pipe dope and teflon tape will get you a good enough seal on the old steel threaded nipple---

Give that a try---repiping that will be a job that you can't walk away from until it's done.

silencer 11-01-2012 07:21 PM

Hey Mike, you are right. This is an old house I'm trying to fix up a little bit. It's a lot of work....had to re-roof just a couple of months ago now this.
I don't know though Mike...I was feeling of the pipe earlier and my finger poked a hole in the rusted's gonna be real weak. Shall I post more pics of something?

oh'mike 11-01-2012 07:55 PM

If the pipe needs to be replaced----that wall will need opening---when it is open you should find a T-with a vent pipe going up and the drain pipe going down----

A saws all with a hacksaw blade will cut that out---I suggest you cut the drain down in the basement --if that is an option---the vent should be fine---but get rid of as much of the crusty old drain as you can----post pictures of the drains below---we will offer suggestions as to the best place to cut and how to do it---

silencer 11-02-2012 01:32 PM

Thanks for the info so far, guys. I don't have a basement or anything so everything will be quite tight under the kitchen sink. :/
I've decided to get a couple of plumbing books from the local library today and read up a little more before I start anything in this en-devour instead of asking questions on here driving you guys nuts, haha.
But over the weekend I'll see about getting to work if I can find the time and I will post more pics or talk about the progress. Nervous, but willing let's just say.

BrandonD 11-02-2012 01:57 PM

If that nipple is as damaged at the elbow in the wall as it is on the other end then you might find that the threads will tear off within the elbow when you attempt to unscrew the nipple. I had this happen to me when I was adjusting a shower head. The threaded nipple broke off inside the wall with threads remaining in the elbow. I immediately thought I'd have to rip up the other side of the wall to replace the elbow. Instead, I Google'd around and found a useful tip. I went out and bought a metal file, went back in and hammered it pretty hard into the elbow from within the shower. This allowed the file's groves to grip the threads and then I was able to use a pair of pliers to twist the threads out like normal. 5 min repair. Here's a link to the article describing it. Of course, you aren't replacing the shower head but if the elbow is supported and isn't damaged then the tip is still valid.

silencer 11-20-2012 03:45 PM

Hey guys....sorry I wasn't able to keep up with this topic. I've been fighting a flulike virus, but I'm finally getting back to tackling this problem.
Not much has changed except the fact that I went out and bought a jigsaw to saw out the wall some so I could get to the pipe.
As you can see in the pictures below, the steel nipple is still connected, and badly rusted with the hole.

I tried to remove it today, but the hole got bigger. I wonder what will happen if I try more torque and it breaks into the castiron pipe in the wall? Would it be possible to get parts of it out, or put another pipe somehow on top of it? Any advice would be appreciated.

joecaption 11-20-2012 04:27 PM

Jig saw was the wrong tool to do this, but it's done.
There is no other options except trying to unscrew that nipple.
If it breaks nothings lost. All that old steel plumbing is going to just leak some place else anyway and needs to be replaced.

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